Jun 06 2012

Where to take a dip on Samui, should your resort not have a pool.

Some of the best value resorts on Samui, are great in most departments, but lacking a swimming pool. Should they be located on a beach, this may not be a problem, but sometimes a splash in a pool, decked with sun loungers and an attentive barman on call is just what the day needs. Don’t despair if your resort doesn’t have watery relief from the heat; there are several good options around the island that welcome day visitors.

Below are a few spots that are tried and tested, offering reasonably priced grub and use of their pools:

Mae Nam -- Fair House Villas & Spa

Quite a fancy place, but pretty relaxed about the use of their pool. In fact, walk in to reception and they will even summon a golf cart to drive you to the pool area. Their pool is quite exceptional too, offering a swim-up bar, loungers in the pool with Jacuzzi jets, a basket ball hoop and several levels and depths. Their poolside menu serves fair priced lunches, such as burgers and Caesar salads or should you want something more substantial, order from the main restaurant menu. Drinks are more expensive than at roadside cafés, but still reasonable when one factors in the use of a lovely pool, with towels provided.

Family time, Samui style at Fair House Villas & Spa

Chaweng -- Ark Bar

Located in Central Chaweng, Ark Bar is the happening spot for a party on the beach. Here Deejays blast out tunes, sun loungers are in abundance and free barbeques are the order of the day on a Wednesday afternoon. Their food is good and reasonable, and use of the pool is free. Don’t expect to read your book in a serene setting. However, this is a great place to people-watch!

Ark Bar pool, before the party starts.

Lamai - -Samui Yacht Club, Buddy Oriental or Coco Splash water park

Samui Yacht Club has nothing to do with what the name suggests. In fact, you probably won’t see more than a kayak or fishing boat in the bay, as most yachts are moored in Chaweng or Bang Rak. The rooms at this resort are not particularly good which is why we haven’t listed them in our accommodation guide, in fact they are quite shabby and unappealing. In saying this, their beachfront area is great. The resort lies on Crystal Bay, also known as Silver Beach, which is a small bay of white, powdery sand and clear water, just past Coral Cove, and just before Lamai. Sun loungers face both the pool and the beach, a shower is available to rinse off the salt and sand before cooling in the pool and the restaurant serves good food at reasonable prices. The snorkeling is not bad, with a few large boulders offering protection and creating a calm bay. Be careful of sharp coral along the beachfront.

Buddy Oriental lies on the Ring Road of Lamai. They have two pools, but the one on the beach side of the road is open to the public. A large pool, with a restaurant with a Caribbean look serves good Thai and Western food. A huge swing hangs from a palm and brings squeals of delight as it sends one flying from the pool deck over the sea.

Those with children may wish to try out Coco Splash water park. They only charge those that go into the water on a you don’t swim, you don’t pay policy.

Perfecting that dive in Buddy's pool.

Choeng Mon -- Honey Cottages

Honey Cottages lies at the eastern end of Choeng Mon beach. The sea right in front is quite rocky, but walk only 50 metres to a good swimming spot. Their pool is small but perfectly positioned next to the bar that arguably makes the best coconut shakes on the island. Plenty of loungers and decks both in the sun and under huge trees offer a great spot to read a book, or listen to lounge music played from the bar. Their western food is not particularly good, but they do good curries.

If photos had sound, you would hear Otis Redding now.

Taling Ngam -- Am Samui

Am Samui is situated along the Virgin Coast -- Samui’s quieter south-western shores. The resort is just south of the Intercontinental Hotel. The pool and beach are both great for swimming, and a large wooden swing hangs from a tree overlooking the beach. This is not a party spot. Come chill here for an hour or two when exploring Samui’s undeveloped areas.

Sea or pool, sea or pool?

Generally speaking, most resorts will allow use of their swimming pool to outside visitors, as long as a meal, or at least a few drinks are ordered, and let’s face it, this is only fair. Don’t try saunter up to a sun lounger covered in a plush super-sized towel, with your Seven Eleven packet slung over the arm, filled to the brim with drinks and take away noodle soup in hand, and expect to be welcomed to the resort. Some resorts have signs listing outside visitor rates ranging from 200 – 500 baht per person, but are prepared to waiver this fee if a meal is ordered.


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